With November, we begin the holiday season, and while the struggle continues for for-hire vehicle drivers, this year we do have new cause for hope and for giving thanks. We at the Independent Drivers Guild are thankful for you, the drivers, who are the power of the industry – through organizing, showing up for rallies, protests and meetings with city officials.

Together, we are building new worker power and made important advances toward ending the decades of exploitation in this industry. We won a historic law for fair pay and we are on the brink of winning a desperately needed raise and the nation’s first livable wage rules for drivers. We are also thankful to the TLC officials at the first TLC to pass driver-friendly laws possibly ever; City Council members like Brad Lander, who stood with us and rallied support to raise our pay; and Mayor de Blasio. We are also thankful for our union brothers and sisters at the AFL-CIO and our affiliated Machinists Union for their support, along with allies like the New York Immigration Coalition and the rare economists who proved to not be in Uber’s pocket, who helped expose that many drivers make less than minimum wage after expenses.

Another reason for thanks in this season is that we won historic new benefits for all black car drivers, including telemedicine benefits that let us contact a doctor via our phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – and vision benefits for full-time drivers to make sure thousands of drivers can get glasses even if they don’t have the budget for them. None of this would be possible without the tireless work of the Black Car Fund and our founder, Jim Conigliaro Jr., who worked together on this effort for many months. You can see if you’re eligible or download the app at driversbenefits.org.

One other way we are showing our thanks to drivers is by offering additional free and low-price classes – better deals than you will find anywhere else. Check out our upcoming class schedule at drivingguild.organd spread the word.

Being a for-hire vehicle driver is often a thankless job, but we hope the season brings you and your families brisk holiday business and many reasons to be thankful.

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Article by Ryan Price

Ryan Price is Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists, which represents and advocates for more than 60,000 app-based drivers in New York City. We’re Uber, Lyft, Juno, Via workers united for a fair industry.

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